Are We On A Self-Destruct Mission?

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Ghana has sent a large delegation to COP27 in Egypt. The President has asked that our debts be written off in exchange for action against climate change, but what are we doing to address climate change?

Climate change is real. Countries in the Pacific are in danger of being submerged. Our own coastline faces threat at Keta and other places. There have been unprecedented torrential rains here and drought in other parts of the world.

Ghana appears to be consistently inconsistent in its approach to the environment and climate change. For example we embark on Green Ghana but proceed to declassify parts of Achimota Forest, the lungs of Accra and one of the last remaining green belts in Accra. Calls to rescind Executive Instrument 144 have fallen on deaf ears.

Our wetlands and Ramsar sites which in addition to their role in preserving biodiversity, protect against flooding, have been built upon.

Regarding the Ramsar site at Sakumono, it is not clear whether we intend to protect it or “regularise” illegal structures built on water ways which contribute to flooding. Question is, would we ‘regularise’ armed robbery? Illegal structures in waterways steal the quality of life of those whose homes will flood because irresponsible citizens have been allowed to break the law and impede the natural protection work of Ramsar sites.

Then there is mining. Our forest reserves are being destroyed whilst the Forestry Commission whose mandate is to protect our forest reserves and wild life says in response to a request by Akonta Mining Company to enter Tano Numiri Forest Reserve that it has “No Objection to Mining”. Would it be acceptable for a firefighter to say they had no objection to arson?

We face an existential threat.

Atewa Forest Reserve the source of water to over 5 million people is also under threat from bauxite mining.

Our land and waters are being poisoned, cocoa farms destroyed and there is an increase in birth defects yet we keep issuing prospecting and mining licences when we know our monitoring regime is weak. Worse still, our restoration and repair of environmental damage appears to be non existent.

Why not pause community mining whlist we get our act together and look at the real cost of mining? Reparation of damage has to be factored in.

Ghana Water Company has warned that if no action is taken we will start importing water. Water and food security are real concerns.

The Nrem Steam is under threat. Prospecting and mining licences have been issued by the Minerals Commission disregarding objections from the people of Mantukwa and its environs Aiyinasi North in Ellembelle district.

Stakeholders including farmers of Mantukwa have stated that alluvial mining will destroy and poison the Nrem steam which is part of a network of streams that feed the Fia river, which feeds the Amanzule. a major river in Nzema.

Aiyinasi North is the breadbasket of Nzema and mining will destroy the land and cause untold hardship.

River Atronsu in Sefwi Atronsu is also under threat from mining. Stakeholders including Sefwi Atronsu Youth/Farmers Antigalamsay Group, have raised objections to mining which will destroy their only river.

Are we waiting for all our water bodies to be poisoned before we take robust action?

Let’s pause community mining and stop all mining in forest reserves before we self destruct. Sanity must prevail.

Awula Serwah
Eco-Conscious Citizens Coordinator
0201 811 702

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